The Weekly Wrap: March 19, 2023
There is one thing I am going to miss if Twitter disappears: hashtags. This is a tiny, revolutionary thing that groups like ideas and makes them highly searchable.
Yesterday, I wrapped up my attendance at ACRL 2023. This is the conference for academic libraries. It's a place for us to share our research, what we've learned through work, and projects worth replicating. It's a massive conference with many overlapping virtual sessions, panels, presentations, posters, round tables, and lightning talks. Oh, and the exhibit hall was essentially in an airplane hanger.
It is impossible to go to everything you want to go to. Even with many sessions being recorded there is no way to consume all the content. That's where hashtags come in. Many of my colleagues (myself included), still tweet during sessions. That makes it possible for me to catch the important points from sessions I would otherwise miss. Plus, it creates a conversation where we can bounce and amplify ideas.
While I mostly use hashtags for conferences, I also use them when I'm curious about trends, to ask #LibraryTwitter questions, and to keep an eye on niche things I'm interested in.
Twitter is problematic, but searchable hashtags are great. I hope they stick around.
The Weekly Wrap: March 12, 2023
The links are paltry this week. That's because I unexpectedly ended up with another week of solo parenting AND daycare was closed at the end of the week.
The Husband was away for business the first week of March. At that event, he ended up being the first of us to get COVID. We knew we couldn't make it much longer without one of us getting it. Luckily, he knew he was exposed and tested before he came home. He went directly to a hotel to isolate so that kiddo and I would not be in contact with him.
While solo parenting is hard, I found that this time has shown me just how much I am capable of doing alone. (It helped that kiddo was on her best behavior most days.) I was able to do all the parenting, keep the house (somewhat) in order, run a few errands, get work done, and prepare for my weekend away. I'm tired but I'm also incredibly proud of myself. I thought this much time doing it all would leave me exhausted, frustrated, and, honestly, angry. Instead, I'm feeling pretty good. I know I can get through something like this again.
I kept telling myself, "Just make it to Friday." Hubby and I were supposed to go away together for our friend ski trip. Instead of going together, I am here alone. It's nice to have this break, but it's not the same.
This is the longest my husband and I have been apart in over a decade. We've been together for 16 years. In that time, I think the longest we've been apart is five days. This time, it's been 13 with one more night to go. I don't like it. There was one night I just burrowed into a blanket on the couch, put on a rom com, and moped. Admittedly, after learning of his positive test, I cried. Not because of the parenting to come but because I was so damn lonely. I'm an introvert. I like my alone time, but this was too much.
Thank goodness for FaceTime and texting. That helped make the isolation feel less of a burden. But hubby better be prepared. Tomorrow, I am going to tackle hug him and not go for a while.
The Weekly Wrap: February 26, 2023
The Husband and I both have a habit of starting conversations when one of us is trying to go to bed. Something about the clock striking 11 PM drives us to have these deep and productive exchanges. We could have said nary a word to one another all night and - BAM - I start brushing my teeth and we decide we need to talk.
This week, just as I was starting my bedtime process, the Husband brings up a "homework" assignment he has for a work event. He needs to list the top three people he sees as leadership models. That led to us chatting about possibilities and me Googling many ideas. We discussed pros and cons, how options could be perceived, and which leaders actually "felt" like my husband. Before you know it, it was midnight and I really needed to go to bed.
This happens about every two weeks. We've discussed work, parenting, politics, local happenings, travel, emotions, and just life issues. I have no idea what causes us to wait until bedtime to hold these conversations, but I kind of love them. It's when we connect and communicate on a deeper level that goes beyond, "So, how was your day?"
Maybe there's something about the dark quiet hours that keeps this time sacred. Whatever the reason, I'm just glad we talk.
The Weekly Wrap: February 19, 2023
One thing I'm trying to do this year is simplify. That means unfollowing and unliking things on social media, reducing the number of newsletters I read, clearing out the list of websites I check daily, and other "reduction" activities. It also means trying to care less about certain things. Unfollowing something is easy. Not caring is much harder.
For example, my pictures auto-backup to Amazon. It's a great service that preserves my images if I lose my laptop. Plus, I can share things with family. Occasionally, however, photos get duplicated. When I got a new laptop and installed Amazon photos, almost everything duplicated. In the past, I would go through and dedupe everything. Now, I'm trying to ask myself, "Why? What is the purpose and benefit of doing it?" The purpose is that I like things neat and tidy. Duplicates make me itchy. But, the benefit? There is none. Now, instead of systematically removing duplicates, I'm trying to just let them be. It's hard, but it's saving me so much time. I expect that I'll get used to the new way of doing things over the coming months.
Another example is in my Mint account. Every quarter or so, my husband and I balance our books. That usually means I send him a few lump sum payments to cover shared expenses. In Mint, I used to split those payments out by budget categories. It would take some time to do correctly. Then I asked myself, "What is the benefit of doing this?" There wasn't any! We don't do budgeting by category. I was just making more work for myself. So, I stopped.
On my simplification journey, letting go is hard. It's really hard to stop doing things as they have always been done. In asking myself to find an actual benefit, it has become easier to start saying no to myself.
How do you stop doing things?
The Weekly Wrap: February 12, 2023
Every now and then, I get the urge to rejigger some of my productivity methodology.
I've got the urge right now and I'm trying to take advantage of the fact that I am an Inbox Zero person. I can't stand when there are items in my inbox. I really can't stand when I "flag" those items as urgent.
I'm jumping on this reaction as a way to help me to tackle monthly tasks that I put off constantly. For example, cleaning my makeup brushes. That should happen monthly. (Probably a lot more often, actually.) But, I always put it off because it's one of those needle tasks that doesn't seem all that important in the moment.
Now, for tasks like this, I create a recurring calendar alert. Not only do I see the task on my calendar, it sends me an email as a reminder. I then flag that email as urgent. My itchiness at having things linger in my inbox has kept me on top of these small to do items. Plus, I get an extra burst of joy when I delete the reminder email once the task is done.
What productivity tricks work for you?
There is a tile floor in my office that is lots of little squares. The little squares are blue and yellow. Each color is clustered together to make larger squares that are each 8x8 tiles big.
When I'm in that room, my brain always tries to make new blocks of patterns. This one will be 4x4 of both colors. That one will be a long row. Another will have a four quadrants. Another will be 75% of one color and 25% of the other. My brain can't help but see new shapes.
I'm not sure if this my brain trying to amuse itself during a quiet period or some weird byproduct of spatial mathematics. I'm not bothered by it; I just think it's interesting that this is how my brain works. I notice it with wall paper and carpet designs too. Something about patterns makes my brain go, "Okay, but what if....?"
Do you ever try to make patterns out of other patterns?
The Weekly Wrap: January 29, 2023
We're having a milder winter, but my body doesn't seem to know that.
Most days, while working, I am freezing. I'll be wearing long pants, a cozy sweater or top, and full coverage shoes or slippers. I still fill chilly. So, I toss on a lap blanket. Still cold. On goes the space heater or up goes the heat. Still cold. So, I throw a coat or extra sweater on top of everything. Only then am I mildly warm.
If there is a sun beam available, I will do everything in my power to station myself in it. I'm a cat who moves with the day. It's a good thing I've got office chairs on wheels.
In the evenings, I wear my warmest PJs and practically burrow into a pile of blankets on the couch. I toss my hoodie over my head and hunker down to try to reduce the amount of exposed skin. It's not until right before bed that I feel warm enough to peel off a layer.
My body seems unable to produce and trap body heat. I've been known to cuddle my husband with the sole purpose of stealing his. (He is not a fan of my extremities in the winter because they are ice blocks. Oftentimes, I get swatted away.)
I'm counting down the days until warmer temperatures arrive. Tell me I'm not the only one who seems to be cold blooded.
The Weekly Wrap: January 22, 2023
Warning - I'm going to rant about Twitter.
Now, I mostly like Twitter. Even through the Musk takeover, it's generally been a good tool for me. I've always highly curated my feed thus avoiding the worst of the muck. For me, Twitter is an information awareness tool. I can stay up-to-date on topics and people that matter to me. Since I'm particular about what I see, all of the other shenanigans have mostly passed me by.
This week, Twitter changed the platform's feed layout. I hate it. There are now two feeds - one that is all about the algorithm and another that is for "Following" but seems to miss half the stuff the people I follow share and comment on. To get the full picture, I have to toggle between the two feeds. That puts my content at the mercy of algorithm. I HATE IT!
All I want is to see the content created and shared by the people I choose to follow in reverse chronological order. Is that so hard?
Listen, Twitter, I will give you promoted ads. I'm fine with that. But stop burying what I want to see under a pile of shit I didn't ask for. I know you're trying design things to keep me scrolling, but all you are doing is overwhelming my brain and making me want to run away.
This issue is the same across other social media - namely Instagram and Facebook. However, on those feeds, I still can narrow down to who I choose to see. That now seems impossible on Twitter.
I'm about to go through my annual purge and clean up of my online accounts and, for the first time, I'm seriously considering jumping ship on an entire platform.
When something becomes so focused on the algorithm that you lose all control, it's time to leave.
The Weekly Wrap: January 15, 2023
You might not want to watch movies with me.
Well, don't watch movies with me if I've a) seen the before or b) know a lot about the subject material. I have a horrible habit of providing running commentary. (My poor, poor husband...)
For example, this week, we tossed on The Day After Tomorrow. This is no masterpiece, but we do love disaster flicks and this one ranks at the top of our rewatches. In about fifteen minutes, I talked about a continuity error I caught; my love for the librarian who is still working; how one character, in reality, would be called "Doctor" and not "Professor;" and the impossibility of a freighter making it that far through city streets. My husband, used to this, mostly smiled and nodded.
I have no idea what drives me to do this. Maybe I just want to talk. Maybe I feel like showing off. Maybe I think my commentary might enhance understanding of the movie. I just seem incapable of not talking when I think I see something interesting.
To my credit, I (usually) don't do this with new movies or in theaters.
Still, you've been warned.
I spent the second half of my work week drafting my chapter for the upcoming book Person-Centered Management. I threw a proposal out on a whim and was shocked to find that it was accepted. My topic - asking five specific questions regularly of your employees - is nothing groundbreaking. The chapter is more reflective and less theoretical or research-based. That's why I found it hard to write.
The outline I developed and received feedback on was extensive. Normally, this makes things easier to write. I simply extend my outline's bullet points into complete sentences with examples scattered throughout. That was not the case here. I found myself stuck in a quagmire of tone and word choice. Was I being to personal or not personal enough? Did I need a specific example or would generalizations do? Was my writing too vague? Did I repeat my points too much?
I also second-guessed the entire premise of the chapter. (That was just imposter syndrome rearing it's ugly head.) Finally, I decided to write what felt good in the moment. That's what ultimately led me to "complete" my draft. It's 500 hundred words over the max limit, but it's done.
I'm going to let this brain dump of writing sit for a few days before I start slicing and dicing in editing. I relish a good red pen session to make writing better. (I expect a lot of red penning with this one.)
The editorial process for the book is extensive. The first draft is due Friday, there is an optional peer-review I signed up for, there is a second draft, and then there is the final draft. I'm going to be wrestling with this 3,000 - well, 3,500 at the moment - words for awhile.
How do you write?